Questions to witnesses – Thomas Tempest – 2 Apr 1690

Document Type: Questions to witnesses
Date: 2 Apr 1690
Correspondent: Thomas Tempest
Archive Source: TNA E 134 2W&M Trin15
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Interrogatories Exhibited to be administered to the witneses to be produced sworne and and Examined on the part and behalfe of Sr Thomas Tempest Baronet Defndant at the Suite of the Attorney generrall of the <Relac[i]on os..> Blackett Baronett and other the Inhabitants of and within the County Palatine of Durham Informants. 

Imprimis	Doe you knowe the said Informant Sr William Blackett and said defendant Sr Thomas Tempest? And how long have you soe knowne them, or either of them? and did you from old Sr Willian Blackett the said Informants late Father, and Sr Richard Tempest the said defendant's late Father? and other and who besides? of the said defendant's Ancestors, in their severall lefetimes.

2:	Doe you know the King's com[m]on high way,leading from Hedley in the County of Northumberland, unto the Towne of Newcastle upon Tine, for horses, Carts, waines, and other Carriages and how long have soe known the same, And did and doth the said way or King's high streete lead from Hedley aforesaid to Ryton wood side, and from thence to Winlaton Mill, and from thence to Whickam, and from thence to Gateside, and thence to Newcastle aforesaid, And is that the <anntient> and nearest and most convenyent way for Carts, waines and other great Carriages, And have the County constantly used that way with such said Carriages, as you know, have credibly heard or verily beleeve? who repaired the way above mentioned was the said frequently repayred by the parish of Ryton and how doe you knowe the same, <were> you any way, and when, and how concerned in the said parish? Declare the same with the reasons induceing you soe to depose.

3:	Doe you knowe the way comeing from out of the said com[m]on high road or Streete, neare the said Ryton Woodside, which Leadeth to Bladon, and soe to Newcastle, through and along the Coppyhold and Freehold ground of the said defendt, And did or doth it come through certain Closes or parcells of ground, of the sayd defend[an]ts called the Bogg als [alias] Black Myre, and soe along to the Peth and the Peth head to Bladon Towne; how long have you knowne that way through the said Lands and grounds; when you first knew it was it bridle way for the Country and anntiently used as a bridle way, and for <sack> and Seame onely to Bladon, and soe to Newcastle? And was it constantly and com[m]only reputed and looked upon as a Bridle way onely? and did you know one William Raine Who was <anntiently> <Steward> or Agent to the said Sr Richard Tempest, how long was he for And what ha<damaged>an at any time, and when, heard him say concerning the Bridle way Declare your full testimony herein.

4:	Were the Gates through which the said Bridle way between Bladon and Newcastle upon Tine, little wicketts or narrow Gates, that onely a horse might with a Load on his back passe through, and nor Carts, waines or great Carriages did or could passe that way betweene Bladon and Newcastle. Speak your full testimony herein:

5:	Doe you knowe Elliotte house and the Peth and Stella Field or Stella Eastfield, and how long have you knowne the same Did the said bridle way anntiently goe along to and from Elliotts aforesaid and soe along the Peth and soe along to Bladon Towne, and from Bladon to Newcastle aforesaid  or how otherwise? Speak the whole truth.

6:	Did and doe the Coppyhold and Freehold Lands of the said defend[an]t lye on bothe sides of the sayd <Sack>, Seame and bridle way and of the Peth aforesaid, and did and doe the defend[an]ts said Lands goe on and continue unto Bladon aforesaid, or how farr, And doth the said BladonBurne, divide the severall Lordpps [Lordships] of Stella and Winlaton as you know, have credibly heard or verily beleeve.

7:	Doe you knowe the defendant Lead hill comonly called or knowne by the name  or names of Stella Lead hill or Bladan hil, and doe you alsoe know another Lead Hill now com[m]only Bladon Lead hill or the L<ow> Lead Hill in Winlaton Lordpp <Loarship> and how long have you soe known the same respect<ive>ly? And doth the said Low Lead hill now belong as well to the defend[an]t, as to the Informant Sr William Blacketts offices, Lords of Winlaton in Com[m]on as you know, have credibly heard or verjly beleeve.

8:	Was the way in question made use of by the defend[an]ts Ancestors in the tyme onely for themselves and for their owne proper Waines Carts and Carriages for carrying of their the defend[an]ts Ancestors great <Loads> and Carriages be Waines and Carts through the Peth aforesaid into the said nowe defendants owne Lead Hill called Stella Lead Hill or was that way formerly (To witt) about Fifty yeares since or how long onely made use of for a Bridle or horsecarriage was to the said Lead hill or <otherwise> as you know, have credibly heard or veryly beleeves.

9:	Did the Country or those that were desirous to make use of that way with their Carts Carryages to Bladon and Bladon Low hill aforesaid agree to pay Five pence p[er] Tunn for Bank Leave and way Leave and soe poport[i]onably? And was the same paid accordingly and by whome in particuler, and when, and to whom, and how often as you know, have credibly heard, or veryly doe beleeve.

10:	Was any stoppage made of any Carts or great Carriages for going the sayd way over Bladon Burne unto Bladon Low Lead hill aforesaid, and when, at what place and how often? And was any recompence made by such as were stopped for goeing & using the said way? & what recompence or satisfaction was made for the same, and when, and by whome, as you know, have credibly heard, or veryly beleeve. Speake your full Testimony herein.

11.	How long is the said Peth is the same six hundred yards long or therabouts, and might or may the same be made fitt for two waines or Carraiges to goe passt that way by one another as you know or veryly beleeve.

12:	Is there a way for Carts and Carriages through the said Stella Field to Bladon Low Lead Hill aforesaid and how long hath that way been soe made use of? Is the same a way of right or was or is the same used by Leave and sufferance and under a Composicon or payment made and paid to the defend[an]t for using and goeing that way with Carts and Carriages And what recompence or compensac[i]on did any and who by name and whenn agree to pay or did pay & caused to be payd for the same unto the defend[an]t or to his Order or use as you know have credibly heard or veryly beleeve

13:	Did old Sr William Blackett in his life time or some of his tenants or others employed under him or who by name take to Farme for some yeares and for how many as you know have credibly heard or veryly doe beleeve as well the said defend[an]ts Lead hill called Stella Lead Hill as alsoe the said way or way Leave along the said Peth to the South Side of Bladon Burne aforesaid, unto the said Low lead hill held in com[m]on as aforesaid, and was the defendants said Lead hill and the sayd way Leave Farmed as aforesaid by and under a certaine yearely rent or Sume payable unto some of the defend[an]ts Ancestors and to whom by name alsoe unto the defend[an]t And did such Tenant or Farmer dureing the tyme and contynuance of that Lease and Tacke permitt the said old Sr Wililliam Blackett and others to goe that way with their Carts waines and Carriages unto the defend[an]ts said Lead hill or to the sayd Low Lead hill over Bladon Burne aforesaid unto the said Lordpp [Lordship] of Winlaton where the said old Sr William Blackett had and the Informant Sr William hath an Estate in com[m]on together with the defendant and others as aforesaid.

14:	Was any discourse as you know have credibly heard or veryly beleeve with the said old Sr Williamd Blackett after the Expirac[i]on of the said Lease or Tacke or of any other since and when concerneing his the said old Sr William Blackett using that way (which is now the way in question) with waines Carts and Carriages over Bladon Burne unto the said Low Lead hill at Bladon and did the defendant finde fault with old Sr William for using that way and tell him that if he contynued to carry Lead that way he would stopp him, and what Answere did old Sr William then returne to the defend[sn]t did he declare and affirme unto the defendant That if the defend[an]t would suffer him to  carry his Lead that way as formerly he had done dureing the said Lease and while it was in being He the said old Sr William would take it as a particuler kindnesse done to him selfe and that he neither did nor would desire to Lessen or p[re]judice the denfendants rights or Title to the sayd way Leave to Bladon aforesaid or whatother discourse or words was or were spoken or declared betweene them touching the same And did the Sayd old Sr William afterwards by p[er]mission and Leave onely as aforesaid contynue to use and was suffered by the defend[an]t to use the said way Declare what you know have credibly heard or veryly beleeve, touching the matters contayned in this Interrogatory.

15:	Who did Constantly or upon occasion repayre the said way through the Peth Did you ever know the Parishoners of Ryton anntiently at any tyme and when repayre the same by their com[m]on or other dayes worke or what can you Depose concerneing the same, Speak your reason induceing you soe to depose and were you at any time and when overseer of the said Ryton high wayes declare your full testimony therein

16:	Did the defendant or those under whome the defendant claimeth his Estate repaire the same for their owne use, and for the use of those who would pay for way Leave and useing the said way, untill of late the Informant Sr William Blackett or some by his order and at his charge as you know or beleeve repaired part of the sayd way called the Peth or Bladon Peth for his Carts and Carriages, and did he cutt and digg or cause to be cutt and digged up the Freehold ground of the defendant, and did he soe doe or cause to be done without the notice and privety of the defendand or of the Parish of Ryton aforesaid as you know have credibly heard or veryly beleeve.

17:	Was an Indictment prefererred and when at the Sessions of the Peace at Durham and found by Grand Jury there against those that did digg the defendants said Ground and Freehold in the p[re]cedent Interrogatory menc[i]oned by the order or directions of the said Informant Sr William and was the sayd Indictment removed by Certiorari by or on behalfe of the persons indicted and afterwards not prosecuted by reason of the late King James Pardon that then came out as you know have credibly heard or veryly beleeve, And is this Coppy shown unto you at the time of your Examination a true Coppy of the said Indictment preferred and found and where did you examine the same.

18:	Did Sr James Clavering Severall yeares and how many yeares since take to Farme Or had and hath he or any other and who by names Leave by Grant of the Defendants Ancestors to goe with waggons and Carriages out of the said Kings high Road and Streete in the said second Interrogatory menc[i]oned which are part of the way in question along the defendants Coppyholdd or other Lands And did and doth he by Leave and Grant by the defendants Ancestor[er]s goe along and contynue to goe with his Waggons and Carryjages from Ryton Wood Side downe along the defendants Coppyhold Lands and Graunds unto Elliotts house aforesaid? as knowe have credibly heard or veryly beleeve.

19:	Are you a witnes to the Sealing and delivery of the Writings or Papers now to you produced at the time of you[er] Exmination or to any and which of them? Or doe you knowe the hand writing marks or Characters of any of the witnesses, written or sett to the Sealing and Delivery thereof; or of any and which of them; And are all or any and which of the said Witnesses dead or gone into places unknowne unto you; or unto the defendant? Or doe you knowe the hand writing of any of the Granto[er]s or Grantees in the said writings, or any and which of them named? Speak your full knowledge and Testimony herein?

20:	What other matter or thing can you further Say or materially Depose touching the way or matters in question betweene the sayd Informant and Defendant for and on the bahalfe of the sayd defendant Declare the same at large, as alsoe your full and whole knowledge to every particular of the sayd Interrogatories.
Interrogatories on behalf of Tempest

These papers are the record of evidence, depositions, collected at Blaydon and Newcastle in April and in October 1690 by commissioners appointed by the Exchequer Court in London. This is the April collection; October’s are located under the document reference TNA E134/ 2Wand M/Mich26. Both sets form part of a case brought by Sir William Blackett against Sir Thomas Tempest. Blackett alleged that Tempest, of Stella Hall, had been imposing illegal tolls on the carriage of lead from Dukesfield and other mills along the Lead Road east of Greenside down to the staithes at Stella and Blaydon, and on the carriage of other goods on the same stretch of road. 

As in all such cases the depositions take the form of a series of questions put by both sides in the dispute – interrogatories and counter-interrogatories – to witnesses, or deponents, called to give statements to the commissioners. The witnesses were mostly ordinary people working as carriers with their horses along the Lead Road. These are Tempest's questions put to the witnesses he called.

The lack of simple indexes to the voluminous decrees and orders of the court means that the outcome of the case has not been traced. However, later evidence suggests that Tempest won. The surviving Blackett account books, starting in 1729, record an annual payment of £1-5s-0d to Lord Widdrington for 'wayleave through Stella freehold' chargeable to the lead mills.  The 4th Baron Widdrington had acquired the Stella Hall estate through his marriage to Sir Thomas Tempest's grand-daughter.

The interrogatories, counter-interrogatories and depositions are given here in the order in which they are presented amongst the Exchequer Court papers. The Latin preamble is omitted. A guide to Exchequer Court procedure can be found at:

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The Dukesfield Smelters and Carriers Project aimed to celebrate and discover the heritage of the Dukesfield Arches & lead carriers' routes between Blaydon and the lead mines of Allendale and Weardale. A two year community project, it was led by the Friends of the North Pennines in partnership with Hexhamshire and Slaley Parish Councils and the active support of Allendale Estates. It was funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and the generous support of other sponsors. Friends of the North Pennines: Charity No:1137467